1) Brian M. Stableford has not faired particularly well on this site: I’ve reviewed The Florians (1976) and Journey to the Center (1982) (I apologize in advance for the rather slight reviews—they are years old). But I found a copy of the second volume of The Daedalus Mission series in a clearance bin, and depending on my mood, I have a soft spot for conflict-less “solve the biological mission” Star Trek-type SF. But The Florians (1976) was forgettable…
Jesse reviewed Stableford’s Man in a Cage (1975) and calls it an intelligent psychological exploration. I am more likely to read my copy before Critical Threshold (1977). Check out his review if you are interested in Stableford’s most mature work!
2) Emma Tennant’s The Crack (variant title: The Time of the Crack) (1973) was a compelling satire of the cozy apocalypse…. And I cannot resist snagging a copy of Hotel De Dream (1976), where residents of a seedy hotel start dreaming each other’s dreams.
3) A lesser known novel by Gene Wolfe… I don’t know when I’m going to get to his novel length work as I’m perfectly content exploring his short fiction in various anthologies at the present: “The Changeling” (1968), “Silhouette” (1975), “Sonya, Crane Wessleman, and Kittee” (1970), etc.
4) I now own one of the worst SF covers of all time! I purchased Pilgrimage (1981), Drew Mendelson’s only SF novel, due to SF Encyclopedia’s positive assessment and the fact I’m a sucker for futuristic cities, even if they’re heavily indebted to Christopher Priest’s Inverted World (1974): “[it] grippingly presents a vision of a bleak Ruined Earth environment, long abandoned by most humans except for those who inhabit the planet’s one remaining artefact, a vast City that moves slowly across the devastated land.” For more on the novel consult the entry here.
But the cover… Cringe!
As always thoughts/comments are welcome!
1. Critical Threshold, Brian M. Stableford (1977)
(Douglas Beekman’s cover for the 1977 edition)
From the back cover: “The Daedalus Mission: 2.
The planet called Dendra seemed too good to be true. One vast forest world, marvelous climate, few dangerous beasts, a balanced hospitable ecology—all should have spelled out a good place for a human colony.
But the original survey team had registered doubts, listed it as borderline without further explanation. Nevertheless the politicians had okayed it and a colony had been landed there… and a hundred and fifty Earthly years had passed without anyone hearing from it.
Now the recontact vessel Daedalus was coming to check up—and they found the climate as marvelous as before, the forest green and friendly, and the colony an inexplicable disaster. There was a biological and psychological puzzle that had to be solved for the sake of all human worlds—and for the crew of the Daedalus it was either crack it or crack up.”
2. Hotel De Dream, Emma Tennant (1976)
(Leo Duff’s cover for the 1986 edition)
From the back cover: “It is barely surprising that the lodgers at the Westringham, Mrs Routledge’s seedy boarding house, have busy dream lives: it is a place from which anyone would want to escape. But the kaleidoscope begins to turn: the dreams begin to defy their dreamers. They start to merge…”
3. Peace, Gene Wolfe (1975)
(Gahan Wilson’s cover for the 1982 edition)
From the back cover of a later edition: “Originally published in 1975, Peace is a spellbinding, brilliant tour de force of the imagination. The melancholy memoir of Alden Dennis Weer, an embittered old man living out his last days in a small midwestern town, the novel reveals a miraculous dimension as the narrative unfolds. For Weer’s imagination has the power to obliterate time and reshape reality, transcending even death itself. Powerful, moving, and uncompromisingly honest, Peace ranks alongside the finest literary works of our time.
Hailed as “one of the literary giants of SF” by The Denver Post, Gene Wolfe has repeatedly won the field’s highest honors, including the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy awards. Peace is Gene Wolfe’s first full-length novel, a work that show the genius that later flourished in such acclaimed works as Home Fires and The Book of the New Sun.”
4. Pilgrimage, Drew Mendelson (1981)
(John Pound’s cover for the 1981 edition)
From the back cover: “As far as anyone knew, all mankind lived in The City. The CIty, a self-enclosed towering single building, had always moved generation by generation across the vast empty landscape.
Brann Adelbran met destiny when his family sector found itself at Tailend. Already the Structors were planning to dismantle his ancestral apartment high on an upper floor of the colossal metropolis. Brann would have to make his pilgrimage to Frontend to re-establish his family there for the generations to come.
But when the tradition was suddenly shattered, Brann was forced to flee, not on the established routes and hallways, but down the forbidden shafts into the lost chambers, corridors, and basements which even legend had forgotten.
His pilgrimage became an odyssey of terrors, mysteries, and scientific marvels—leading to the end of the world.”